Tuned In

The Morning After: Into Africa

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Notice the tickbirds, who like to form a strong alliance and fly under the radar. / Monty Brinton/CBS

Survivor: Gabon: Earth’s Last Eden debuted last night, along with a lot of other things. (You’ll get your Office post in good time! What am I, your slave?) No spoilers here, just a few bullet points about what has become such a comfortable ritual it’s hard to remember it was once a Shocking Television Event that made the covers of newsmagazines:

* That title! I love that Survivor seasons now require two subtitles, like tentpole summer franchise movies. Will they ever break the three-subtitle barrier? (Survivor: Gabon 2: Return to Earth’s Last Eden: The Reckoning, etc.)

* About that Olympic gold-medalist: (1) Why is there constantly one contestant who finds it strategically imperative to hide the fact that he or she is [an astronaut, a millionaire, the alter ego of a superhero, etc.]? When’s the last time information like that actually made a difference, except when the contestant made it matter by hiding it? (2) After all, is it a bad thing to have your teammates know that you’re physically strong and an asset in challenges? In the team episodes, that will keep you around; by the individual challenges, if you’re strong, people are going to know it anyway. But (3) good job concealing that last bit. She can’t even climb a hill? And blames it on her shoes? Yeah, because if there’s one thing you can’t expect from an Olympic track star, it’s the ability to choose proper athletic footwear.

* As I’ve said before, the beauty of Survivor is the window it provides into the wondrous diversity of the American job market. To which add: “professional videogame player” and “retro pinup model.”

* How did they get Bill Nye the Science Guy’s dad to do the show? You have to respect anyone who can rock a bowtie in the middle of an immunity challenge.